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Guest Column

Learn from nature

  • from Shaastra :: vol 03 issue 02 :: Mar 2024

Applying biological insights and framing a 'humanistic design' will help address many human challenges.

The story of progress is one of humans meeting one challenge after another – and of seemingly emerging stronger in the face of adversity. Human ingenuity is remarkable, but it has its shortcomings. We understand cause and effect, but are poor at discerning long-term consequences.

Nature has had 3.8 billion years to address problems of every shape, size, and texture. What we see around us are the success stories; in nature, there is no failure, and massive timescales have smoothened out the bumps. Nature is about adaptation and evolution. We need to learn from nature: emulate the ways of life, with nature as model, mentor and measure, and approach it with wonder, curiosity, and humility. This is the starting point for biomimicry.

Consider the mechanical energy stored in the leaves of a Venus flytrap, which snap shut in an instant to trap a fly. Reflect on the tubercles on the humpback whale's fin as it glides through the water with minimal drag. Biomimicry requires a keen observation of nature.


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